As Lucas McCann says “I’m the older brother: I play guitar and some keyboard chops; I also do some backing vocals, and I’m the self-appointed tour bus mechanic. I’m the elder, so I guess that’s my job in Mushy Callahan”
It would seem to be important to have a built-in mechanic when touring cross-country with your brothers as a rock band. Following their first EP last year, Man on the Run, which they brought to hometown Alberta from Toronto, they’ve updated a couple of the original songs and expanded the storyline they developed there.
“This new disc kind of carries over some of the same themes, in terms of the title (this one’s called Makings of a Man). We’re sort of telling the story of the journey of a person. We like to think of it as someone with a rural aspect coming to the city; a social commentary about a young man who tries to make it in the big town.”
Hmmmm. Sounds faintly autobiographical, doesn’t it? Lucas describes how the three brothers all moved into a house in Toronto while he lived across town. They put a studio in the basement; bought a Niagara Falls tour bus and tore all the seats out to make it their own; and channeled their previously multi-band energies into the Callahan.
“We’ve been able to focus a lot on our band dynamic in the past year, which has been huge for us. Living together has allowed us to develop the patience to deal with ourselves as musicians. We literally can’t escape one another and are forced to work out stuff. When you’re in a fight with your brother or your sister, the tendency is to say things you wouldn’t say to your own friend. You essentially take (your brothers) for granted.
“We’ve had to come a long way in how we approach adversity when we’re together, and it’s made us a much stronger unit.”
Lucas mentions that Jacob, the youngest in the band (who headed out to the ‘big town’ right after high-school graduation) was the only brother without previous band experience. The crash course in Canadian rock touring has turned him into a professional musician as competent as the rest of Mushy Callahan, which is stirring the pot in Toronto.
Now, don’t get to attached to all this warm fuzziness: these are not, as they mentioned before, the Jonas Brothers. There’s more Southern rock in their chops than Eastern pop. Big drums kick down the doors in “Burn”, and “Devil On My Shoulder” has a blues-rock tone that feels like a lot of prairie life: how can you be warm and fuzzy when you’re freezing or cooking, unemployed or working your ass off? These guys started out in Peace River, remember.
“In terms of the overall sound of the band, if you listened to the (first) EP (Man on the Run), it is admittedly a bit all over the place, comes from a few different angles.. . . With the new stuff we’re playing, we’ve known where we wanted it to go, and now we’re essentially letting that happen, to emulate our favourite sounds from 60’s & 70’s rock, and bring that into something that is much more applicable to people that are buying CDs and MP3s.”
Then Lucas, under the influence of your fearless writer, slips out of the pragmatic and into the philosophic:
“(Songwriting) is probably the cheapest form of therapy you can find. It’s essentially like dream interpretation: these things come to you, you don’t know why they’re there or what the meaning is behind them. But you get enough of it there on paper, and if you take a step back and look at it, there are parallels (between one’s emotional life and the songs that are written).”
Don’t be scared, though: it’s still rock & roll.
August 15th – Regina, SK – The Artful Dodger
August 16th – Calgary, AB – The Blind Beggar Pub
Aug 17th - Calgary - The Alibi Room
August 18th – Edmonton, AB – Fandango’s
August 20th – Grande Prairie, AB – Better than Fred’s
August 21st – Golden, BC – Rockwater Grill & Bar
August 22nd – Kamloops, BC – The Dirty Jersey
August 23rd – Vancouver, BC – Vancouver FanClub
August 24th – Vancouver, BC – The Anza Club
2014 – Japan?